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Parents grumble over fee hike as schools re-open

As most  primary and post-primary schools across the country  resume for the new session, some parents are struggling to cope with another round of fee…

As most  primary and post-primary schools across the country  resume for the new session, some parents are struggling to cope with another round of fee hike while others  complain  of poor facilities.
Our correspondent in Jos, Plateau State, reports that schools that parents grapple with high fees.   
Jennifer Oke, an advertising executive whose two children recently moved to a boarding school in Jos said parents have had to contend with increased school fees and soaring prices.
“Despite the fact that fuel is now sold at N87 per litre everywhere, prices of commodities are still high”, she said.
According to Mrs Esther Onah, another parent, “In most schools, you will have to go with bank payment receipts on the first day of resumption or your child would be turned back but we enjoy some little flexibility from a few schools since they give us the opportunity to pay fees in three instalments.”
The proprietor of Beacon Learning Academy, Rantya, Mrs Rhoda Gyang, said  though her school would resume today, parents were yet to pay fees for their wards. 
“Most of them have asked to pay at the end of the month. This is unusual because what we are used to is parents paying at least half of the fees before they ask for extension. This attitude of parents has affected our business, you cannot say business is booming when parents are not paying school fees,” she said.     
Students in Bauchi State will not return to schools for the new session yet as their third term holiday has been extended until after the Eid-el- Kabir celebrations.
 The Director of Education Resource Center, Ministry of Education, Musa Ibrahim Wadata told Daily Trust that the resumption date was extended because of the Sallah celebrations. A teacher with a Government Secondary School in Jikwoyi, Abuja, said schools resumed on September 7 and the turnout of students was impressive compared to previous years.
He said contrary to the belief that school activities won’t start immediately, teaching had commenced.
A parent whose children attend public schools in the FCT complained of unnecessary levies imposed on students.
He said some schools asked  students to bring bags of cement as fine for resuming late.
“Times are hard, I know what I go through to send my children to school, it is not easy for me but now they are making it difficult for us in government schools with the high charges and demands. Schools are built and maintained by the government and how do they expect parents to be providing building materials. They charge fees for extracurricular activities,” he said.
For Tanimu Aliyu, a civil servant, the resumption of schools shortly before Sallah will not go down well with most parents considering, according to her, that there is “no money in circulation in the country.”
The National President of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, (ANCOPSS) Dr. Fatimah Abdulrahman Binta, highlighted some of the challenges facing public schools.
She listed shortage of man power, dilapidated structures, poorly-equipped libraries, teachers’ welfare among others as challenges.
She said curriculum was reviewed without due consideration to those who will teach the new subjects. This, she said, has resulted in lack of teachers in some newly introduced subjects. 
The ANCOPSS national president described as ‘frustrating’ the dilapidated structures of school buildings, which, she said, affect teaching and learning.
“In some schools, students sit on bare floor to take lessons due to dearth of class room furniture,” Binta said, adding that quality service delivery cannot be guaranteed when the atmosphere is not conducive for learning.
She also decried the sorry state of libraries in public schools, saying, “most of the libraries are obsolete. No new books and furniture. There are no standard libraries in public schools.”
Teachers’ welfare, according to Binta, is central to service delivery but Nigerian teachers particularly those in public schools are not motivated because of poor welfare package.

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